Columbia University locks down campus buildings following overnight mutiny: 'Effective immediately'

Columbia University has been forced to close its campus indefinitely after an anti-Israel mob broke into an academic building early Tuesday morning.

In a statement hours after anti-Israel agitators stormed the iconic Hamilton Hall on the Manhattan campus and barricaded its doors, the university said it would remain closed “until circumstances allow otherwise.”

“Effective immediately, access to the Morningside campus has been limited to students residing in residential buildings on campus (Carman, Furnald, John Jay, Hartley, Wallach, East Campus and Wien) and employees who provide essential services to campus buildings, labs and residential student life (for example, Dining, Public Safety, and building maintenance staff). There is no additional access to the Morningside campus,” a statement from the university said.

It added: “This access restriction will remain in place until circumstances allow otherwise.”


columbia university protestor holds hammer next to door window

Students at Columbia University broke into Hamilton Hall on Tuesday, April 30, 2024. (Getty Images/Alex Kent)

In the post, the university said that the safety of students remained “paramount” and thanked the community for “understanding” the current crisis.

“The safety of every single member of this community is paramount. We thank you for your patience, cooperation and understanding,” the statement read.


Protester smashing window

Members of an anti-Israel mob broke into Hamilton Hall early Tuesday morning. (Alex Kent/Getty Images)

Broken windows

The agitators are speaking critically of Israel and Jewish people, and are expressing their support for Hamas and Palestinians in Gaza. (Selcuk Acar/Anadolu via Getty Images)

The university also clarified that there would only be one access point onto the campus. Officers remain diligent to check students’ photo IDs to allow access.

“The only access point into and out of campus is the 116th Street and Amsterdam gate. All other campus entry points are closed. Security personnel will remain in place at the Wien Gate for individuals requiring disability access to Wien Hall and East Campus,” the statement added.


The lockdown came as an unruly mob of anti-Israel protesters broke into Hamilton Hall shortly before 1 a.m.

Protesters carrying chairs

Students blocked the entrance of iconic Hamilton Hall building as they chant pro-Palestine slogans at Columbia University. (Alex Kent/Getty Images)

Columbia initially confirmed the major escalation and urged students and faculty members to avoid traveling to campus.

“Early this morning, a group of protestors [sic] occupied Hamilton Hall on the Morningside campus,” the school said. “In light of the protest activity on campus, members of the University community who can avoid coming to the Morningside campus today (Tuesday, April 30) should do so; essential personnel should report to work according to university policy. Please check with your supervisor if you have any questions. Be aware that access to campus and other campus buildings may be restricted.”

It added: “We will continue to update you with more information should there be additional changes to campus access today.”

Student sign

Columbia University President Minouche Shafik called law enforcement to sweep the “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” after failed attempts to negotiate with the agitators. (Alex Kent/Getty Images)

Once inside Hamilton Hall, the mob began “moving metal gates to barricade the doors, blocking entrances with wooden tables and chairs, and zip-tying doors shut,” according to the student newspaper Columbia Spectator.

Footage of the insurrection showed the protesters in New York smashing windows, unfurling a Palestinian flag over a window and chanting: “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” and “Palestine will live forever.”

Outside of Hamilton Hall, the anti-Israel rebels form a human barricade by linking their arms and vowing to remain until the university meets their three demands.

The students are demanding the university divest their financial support of Israel, become more transparent with its investments, and provide blanket amnesty to the protesting students for any consequences.

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